Monday, February 28, 2005

My Final Word on This Year's Oscars

As I mentioned two posts ago, I haven't seen a single one of the movies that were nominated for the six major Oscar Categories. But let me leave you with something to chew on:

The Peoples' Choice Awards--Favorite Movie Nominees:

Movie--------------------------- USA Box Office Gross (so far)
Spiderman 2----------------$373,377,893
Fahrenheit 9/11------------$119,194,771 (Winner)
The Incredibles -----------$258,938,368
Eternal Sunshine...--------$34,126,138
Shrek 2 -------------------$436,471,036
.............................Total: $1,222,108,206

The Academy Award Nominees for best picture:

Movie---------------------------USA Box Office Gross (so far)

The Aviator---------------$88,876,786
Million Dollar Baby-------$55,645,680 (Winner)
Finding Neverland --------$45,691,722
Ray ----------------------$74,911,715
Sideways -----------------$58,695,137

..............................Total: $323,821,040
(All figures courtesy of

For those of you doing the math at home, The Peoples' Choice nominees for favorite movie have outscored the Academy award nominees for best picture at the box office by nearly four to one. And I would also point out that these are only U.S. box office figures. They do not include international figures, or money from sales and/or rental of the DVD/Videos.

Anyone else besides me think that the Academy may be just a little bit out of touch with the public?!

Rule #1 in entertainment: Give the people what they want!

And the Oscar Goes to...Who Cares?--Part 2

So it's all over but the cryin'. Here's a few observations:

Poor Martin Lucci...I mean Martin Scorsese. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Five times now, they've dangled that beautiful golden statuette in front of him, only to snatch it away again at the last minute. Sisysphus endured less torture. He's the Buffalo Bills of the Academy awards.

Whew. I'm exhausted from coming up with all those witticisms. Brief pause while I collect myself.

OK, I'm back.

Hilary Swank has now won 2 Oscars by playing decidedly non-feminine characters. Does she secretly wish she was a man? I'm just sayin'.

Memo to Johnny Depp: You were named the sexiest man alive not too long ago. Try dressing like it!

How sad is it that Halle Berry has gone from Best Actress to Worst Actress in just 3 years? How cool is it that she and George DUIbya (tm) Bush share the same acting award--the golden Rasberry for worst acting performance? Psst. Halle. Babe. Want another Golden Statue? One that looks like a man and not a fruit? Try another five-minute-long sex scene. I'm volunteering right to be in it with you. Seriously. It doesn't even have to be in a movie. My bedroom would be great. I've probably got some old trophy gathering dust in my closet somewhere. It's no Oscar, but, hey, judging by the string of crap you've been putting out lately, it's about as close as you're going to get to one!

Still haven't seen The Incredibles yet. It's on my list of things to do.

Memo to Annette Benning: I hear there's all kinds of creams nowadays that work wonders on crow's feet. Again, I'm just sayin'.

Memo to Mike Nichols (director of Closer): When you release the DVD, make sure you include "the scene" in the extra features. You know which one I'm talking about. There's a million bucks in it for ya. Seriously. I could make a website where Star Wars geeks worldwide could donate a buck apiece to see "the scene". I'd bet I'd have a million within the first half hour it was up.

Anyhoo, that's all for now. I may add a few more thoughts later.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

And the Oscar Goes to...Who Cares?!

As I write this, the Annual Academy awards show is going on. And I have to say: I really don't give a shit one way or another who wins what.

Of all the nominations in all the major categories--Best picture, actor, director, actress, etc.--I haven't seen a single one of them. I would no more know which nominee deserves the award than I would know the square root of 6,579,842.

(By the way, it's 2565.1203, roughly. I used my computer's calculator to figure it out.)

I could care less about the Oscars. Of all the films that have won Best Picture since 1980, the number that I have liked you can count on the fingers of one hand.

My personal worst was Titanic. If not for that movie, As Good as it Gets would have swept five of the the big six. Deservedly. As far as I am concerned, the only good thing about Titanic was that Leonardo DiCaprio got turned into a frozen popsicle at the end of it.

An Aside: If any of the three people reading this are female, I think I just lost them with that comment.

Although I haven't seen it, I think The Aviator should win for Best Director. It's Scorsese's turn. Besides, he created one of the best Mob films ever made--Goodfellas. That movie alone is almost enough for me to forgive him for making The Age of Innocence.

Of course, the irony of what I just said is not lost on me. But I'm not saying Aviator should get best picture. As far as I'm concerned, NO movie with L.D. in it deserves best pic. But give Scorsese the best director nod. Clint Eastwood may be a great director, but I'll NEVER forgive him for making The Bridges of Madison County!

Meanwhile, I've got a copy of A Time to Kill from the library that I think I'll watch again. As far as I'm concerned, that was a movie that was unjustly ignored by the Oscars.

And no, I won't bother with predictions. I'd just be guessing anyway.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Who are the REAL patriots?! Posted by Hello

In honor of today's 60th Anniversary of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima's Mt. Suribachi Posted by Hello

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Ongoing War on Consumer Safety

You may or may not be aware, but last week Congress passed legislation that removes multi-state class action lawsuits into the jurisdiction of the federal court system. And DUIHbya(TM) broke nearly all speed records signing into law.

Let's think about this for a minute, shall we?

Point One: For the last 25 years, Rebublicans have controlled the White house for all but 8 of them. I don't know the exact figures, but during that time probably more than a thousand judges have been appointed to the federal bench, including 8 supreme court justices, six of them appointed by Republicans.

Point Two: In the 8 years the Democrats controlled the White House, Republicans controlled the congress for 6 of them. They blocked dozens of Federal judicial appointments put forth by President Clinton.

Point Three: Republicans will continue to control both houses of congress for at least the next two years, and they will control the White House for the next four years (or longer, God forbid!) Over that time period, probably a hundred or more federal judges will be appointed, including, more than likely, at least one and possibly as many as four Supreme Court Justices.

Point Four: Federal Judicial postings are "for life". The only way a federal judge can lose his position is through blatant judicial misconduct. I'm guessing that doesn't happen very often.

So what does this all boil down to? Simple. It means that our federal court system is currently packed with conservative judges. The type of judges who are unlikely to be favorably disposed towards plaintiffs in class action lawsuits.

Add in the fact that the federal court docket is already heavily overloaded. And now there will be even more cases on the courts.

So, to make a long story short (I know, too late!), this means that American consumers who are injured or otherwise harmed by defective and/or dangerous consumer goods are now far less likely to be able to seek redress through the legal system.

In other words, Big Business got exactly what it wanted, from the government they bought and paid for.

God help us all.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

I'm Terrified

I happened to catch part of NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday morning. In the second segment, they had a "debate" between Pat Buchanan and Nathan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and political prisoner, and a current strong advocate of democracy. Buchanan, of course is a former moron and a current idiot. His political leanings are somewhat to the right of Joseph Stalin. Ordinarily, if I saw his face on my TV screen, I'd change the channel in a hurry. But my options were pretty limited. It was, after all, 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday, and the other channels were pretty much all infomercials, all the time. So I watched it.

But here's the part that terrifies me.

At one point, Buchanan said the following (and this is taken directly from the transcript from

"...There are 22 Arab states, not one of which is democratic, and the United States has not been threatened by any of them since the Barbary pirates.

In my judgment, what happened on 9/11 was a result of interventionism. Interventionism is the cause of terror. It is not a cure for terror. (italics are mine) The idea that the president of the United States, as he said in his inaugural, is going to help democratic institutions in every region in every nation on earth is a formula for permanent war, Tim. And look, the president of the United States has no constitutional authority to do this. Where in the Constitution do we get the right to intervene in the internal affairs of countries that do not threaten us and do not attack us? If they don't, their internal politics are their own business."


Now do you see why I'm terrified?!

I may have to seriously re-think my views if Pat Buchanan and I are in agreement on anything.

Seriously. Pat Buchanan said something intelligent. And makes sense. And that I totally agree with.

I think Armageddon is upon us!

P.S. The full transcript is at the link below:

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Our Pill-Popping Culture Part 2

You may or may not remeber from my last post, but I lamented the Google Adsense ads that would pop up on my blog as a result of my last post. Here is what showed up:

Your Cholesterol high?

Lower Triglycerides nw

Cholesterol information

Have High Cholesterol?

Does anyone wonder why my Google Adsense ads now show pharmaceutical ads?

Hey look! Anyone who happens to be reading this. Take a few moments to click the Adsense ads that pop up on this blog. I, Voice In the Crowd, pledge to donate any monies I receive from the Adsense to Collingwood Presbyterian Church, where I have been a member in good standing for more than 27 years. Here is the link to their website:

The community churches, that preach accptance of everyone, are the best hope for saving civilization!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Our Pill-Popping Culture

This evening, I made a bet with myself. I bet myself that if I watched two hours of network TV, I would see at least 5 drug commercials. I won. I owe myself 5 bucks. I don't exepct I'll see any of it, though. I'm a terrible deadbeat.

But I digress.

Drug Commercials: You know the type. They're commercials for drugs that promise to do everything from lowering your cholesterol to giving you a woody any time you want over a 24-hour period. And most of them usually spend 15 seconds telling you what a miracle drug it is, then the next 45 seconds telling you all the ways this drug can kill you.

My personal favoirte is the anti-depression drug, whose side effects include nausea, diarrhea, nervousness, sexual side effects, etc. My first thought when I heard this commercial was, "Wait a minute! I thought this stuff was supposed to cure depression, not cause it!

Today, there's a pill for everything. High cholesterol? Take a pill for it! High blood pressure? Take a pill for it! Impotent? Take a pill for it! Sad? Lonely? Depressed? Take a pill for it! Are your kids driving you crazy? Give them a pill for it! Bad Allergies? Take a pill for it?

What comes next?

Don't like something you heard on the news? Take a pill and forget about it!

Don't feel like you love your spouse? Take a pill for it!

Want to end your life? Take a pill for it!

Think that last one could never happen? Then just ask yourself if 50 years ago, people ever thought they would see commercials talking about Genital Herpes or erections lasting longer than four hours...

The saddest part is, I can't imagine what kind of ads will pop up in my Google Adsense panel thanks to this entry. >:)

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Sad Case of Paul Shanley

So. Paul Shanley is guilty. Of doing very bad things. To a young boy. Things that are sure to earn him his own special room in hell.

This is a man who, now, at 74, could spend the rest of his life in prison. Barring his winning on appeal, that prospect seems very likely. If you ask me (or even if you don't!) he's getting off easy.

I freely admit that I am not a Catholic. Frankly, I simply disagree with too many tenets of their faith. But I respect their right to their beliefs, just as I respect the beliefs of any religion (except those snake-handling people--those people are just plain nuts!)

But frankly, I think it's time for the Catholic Church to move into the 21st century. Just about every other religion in the world not only allows its clergy to marry and have children, but in most cases encourages it. Most of them also allow women clergy. As a consequence, while there may be some deviant behavior among them, it obviously doesn't reach the level that it did in the Catholic church in the past century.

I don't want to condemn a whole barrel because of a few rotten apples. I'm sure that 99.9% of all Catholic clergymen are good, honest, decent, God-fearing men who would never think of engaging in indecent behavior with children. But those few who do deserve to be hounded out of the church, and out of the company of decent human beings, period. There is no excuse. It is a vile crime that can traumatize its victims, mentally and physically, often for life. If there is any doubt as to the veracity of that claim, please keep in mind that there were originally four witnesses against Shanley, but three were dropped from the case due to various mental health problems, most of them caused by their previous victimizations.

I give great credit to the lone remaining accuser for standing strong in the face of a vicious attack on his credibility by Shanley's attorney, and for being able to fight back the demons that obviously were too powerful for Shanley's other victims to overcome.

And I take issue with the officials of the Catholic Church who were well aware of Shanley's proclivities but simply shuffled him to other parishes. Bad behavior that is not severely punished simply invites more of the same. Any parent will tell you that!

At any rate, finally some justice has been done. Nothing will ever erase the stain on the Church that this whole sorry mess has caused, but it might in some small way give the healing process a little boost.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Adventures with Google Adsense

I'm still pretty new to this whole blogging thing. For instance, I still haven't figured out how to post links so you can just click them and go right to the story--you still have to copy and paste.

So I considered it a small miracle when I was able to add the button to my blog (there, to the right! Click it! These people are doing some good!)

Anyhoo, I figured since I did a such a good job at that, I figured I'd ad the ubiquitous "Ads by Google" to my blog. I'm not above making a buck or two.

At any rate, there were a few fits and starts. For instance, my first attempt moved all my links (archives, link buttons, etc.) way down the blog. My second attempt put a single small adbox at the bottom of each post. Not much way anyone's going to see those, let alone click them.

Hopefully now I've got it set right, and the adds should appear in a "skyscraper" format to the right.

It may take some time for the good folks at Google to re-format everything, so bear with me. And if it's still not right tomorrow, I may give up the whole thing. After all, I don't expect I'll make much, if anything. But at least the ads will appear in Scarlet and Gray, the colors of my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes!

And hey, if you're reading this, take a second and click an ad or two. I'd do it for you!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Fate of the Union

So. Idiot Boy has once again given another "rousing" State of the Union address. Let's review some of the low points.

On Iran:

“And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you...”

Oh boy. That's about the same thing he said to the Iraqi people just before the invasion. Translation: "You fucks are next!"

Let's think about this for a minute. Iranian people are pretty much trained from birth that America is "The Great Satan", and that we mean to wipe out all of Islam. So far, our actions under this president haven't done anything to prove them wrong.

Bottom line: If we thought Iraq was a hornet's nest, just wait until we invade Iran. It's going to make Iraq look like a Sunday picnic in comparison.

On Social Security:

“I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you. For you, the Social Security system will not change in any way.”

Translation: Of course your benefits won't change. You have the power of the AARP behind you. I don't want to piss off a buch of senior citizens with nothing to do but organize against me. Your kids, however, are pretty much gonna take it in the shorts!

Let's me phrase this very clearly: There is no social security crisis. The only reason Bush wants privatization to happen is to enrich all his Wall Street buddies. Think how much more fraud they could perpetrate with a fresh infusion of all that Social Security money!

An aside: I'm happy to post a link on my blog to It's there, to the right. Click on it! They have some interesting things to say.

On Social Security, part two:

"Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than the year before. For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra 200 billion dollars to keep the system afloat — and by 2033, the annual shortfall would be more than 300 billion dollars. By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt."

Huge cheers to the democrats who started booing him at this point. This is just more scare tactics designed to keep the red staters in the constant state of fear neccessary to get away with gutting Social Security.

"If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be dramatically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs."

So, what? Let's do all of that now instead of later?

On Tort Reform:

"To make our economy stronger and more competitive, America must reward, not punish, the efforts and dreams of we must free small businesses from needless regulation and protect honest job-creators from junk lawsuits. Justice is distorted, and our economy is held back, by irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims — and I urge Congress to pass legal reforms this year."

Wow. Where do I start with this one?

First of all, it's NOT the small businesses that want less regulation, it's the BIG businesses. Second, how many jobs have been created lately? And finally, is it any surprise that he started talking about tort reform right about the same time Vioxx and Celebrex got pulled off the market?

On Health care Reform:

"I ask Congress to move forward on a comprehensive health care agenda — with tax credits to help low-income workers buy insurance, a community health center in every poor county, improved information technology to prevent medical errors and needless costs, association health plans for small businesses and their employees, expanded health savings accounts, and medical liability reform that will reduce health care costs, and make sure patients have the doctors and care they need."

Great idea. Let's all wait for two years from now and see just how much of this has actually happened. I'm not holding my breath!

On Energy policies:

"...we also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy. Nearly four years ago, I submitted a comprehensive energy strategy that encourages conservation, alternative sources, a modernized electricity grid, and more production here at home, including safe, clean nuclear energy. My Clear Skies legislation will cut power plant pollution and improve the health of our citizens. And my budget provides strong funding for leading-edge technology — from hydrogen-fueled cars, to clean coal, to renewable sources such as ethanol. Four years of debate is enough — I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy.

Safe, clean nuclear energy? Has he forgotten about Three-Mile Island? Chernobyl?
Nuclear fission is one of the most toxic forms of power generation available, producing hazardous by-products that take centuries to break down. As for his Clear Skies legislation, it's been very effective at clearing the skies of birds, but it hasn't done much else.

On National Security:

"In the three and a half years since September 11th, 2001, we have taken unprecedented actions to protect Americans."

First of all, you knew September 11th was going to be slipped in there somewhere. As for what actions have been taken to protect Americans, let's review:

USA PATRIOT act--Proven very effective at spying on Americans with unpopular political views, not so effective against terrorism
Afghanistan--woefully small number of troops deployed, Osama bin Laden and most Taliban leaders got away.
Iraq--A sovereign country that had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with September 11th was invaded, playing right into the hads of O.B.L. and his ilk. We, a non-Muslim nation, invaded a sovereign Muslim nation simply because we could--exactly what Bin Laden and his followers said we would do!

Well, that's about all I can stand for now. Whew! This may be the longest post I've done so far. And don't forget to go to!